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To be able to visualise and design a garden is a great skill Fg. I admire anyone that can do that.

Thinking about it i may not be a gardeners at all. What I like doing is growing plants. They then need a home and they're all out there, just where there happened to be a gap at the time


I can't ever remember not gardening Verdun, I used to tidy and weed my mums postage stamp sized back garden and cut the grass from a young age, (dad died when I was 3 and brother was 6 months) and mum wasn't really a gardener, she would plant hardwood cuttings of roses and that was as far as it went.  Can't remember what age I took over but it was young.  Moved to my current house 27 years ago and have brought up family etc and always kept the garden tidy but got made redundant 6 years ago and after about a year of fruitless job searching I put some ads around to do some gardening for other people to fill in the time.  6 years later I have a thriving garden maintenance business with a waiting list, I've met some lovely people and should have done it years ago 

My story is very recent.  I bought my first house at the end of last year, one of the main things i liked about the house was the low maintenace garden (Flags, gravel, decking and a very small border)

I decided to plant herbs in the border at the start of this year once the weather had cleared up a little. I went down to my dads allotment when he moved from his old plot to a new better plot.  After this i still didnt have much interest but while wandering round tesco i saw a couple of the grow your own tomato things for a quid each, so i started these off and a week later i had tiny tomato seedlings.  I suppose this is the moment when i thought this was actually really good.

After this i decided to make a raised bed to use some of the space on my gravel, i enjoyed making it and planting it, so i decided to do something else, so i made a raised planter for other herbs, then a trellis planter for clematis to climb up to hide the neighbours everygreen which i had butchered to get some light back in the garden.  Since then i have made a large window planter, another trellis, created a little rockery (not sure if to call it a rockery when there are no rocks in it)

A couple of plastic greenhouses (no room for a proper one) a cold frame, potted trees, and now i find myself buying flowers to place around and to be honest while my garden is just a complete hodge podge of colours with no order I am enjoying it.

The test may come after the summer when i need to do the clean up, and then after that the possibility of getting an allotment which my dad thinks i should take the plunge on.


I`ve pretty much always worked outside from landscape maintenance to greenkeeping to tree surgery, i guess coming from generations of farmers helped but actual full on gardening as a job only a few years ago. My parents always had a tidy garden but i was never interested until i got my first home which was a complete jungle and i was hooked from then.

John Harding

I grew up in a little Buckinghamshire village of Seer Green in the late 1940s. Our neighbours were my aunt & uncle and they grew cars: Austin 7, Austin Ruby, various Vauxhalls and Fords + an old Morris van - in fact anything with an engine in it!

Dad on the other hand was a keen gardener, mostly out of necessity after the second world war when everything was rationed. We had a dozen apple trees in the garden and a veg plot + an area set aside for chickens (gave us fresh eggs and manure and occasional chicken dinners). I had my own little plot to grow things but being a young boy it did get a bit neglected at times!!!

Then we moved to High Wycombe about 10 miles away when I was 9 and Mum & Dad took on an allotment in addition to their garden and I was able to help (carrying cans of water the 200 yds to the plot, helping with the weeding, and best of all picking the crops when they matured).

Mum loved to do the garden at home mostly and had a beautiful rose bed in the front garden which neighbours used to admire and a large rockery in the back (at least it looked large to me then!) She still loves her garden but at almost 100 she can't do it herself anymore so my sister & brother in law keep it tidy so she can still see it & get pleasure from it.

When I got married in 1966 we came to live in Bristol where we have lived in the house we bought then. The garden was a bit of a mess with bonfire holes dotted around and an old asbestos garage the previous owner had accidentally driven right through into the garden one day. My early gardening experience came into its own then and we have gradually built up to what we have now. When our children got married we halved the veg garden and did a complete re-design to what you see today (above left) so instead of 2 lawns with crazy paving up through the middle I designed a kidney shaped lawn & moved the path to the right and increased the left hand border size in width.


Mrs MacGregor

Love these posts - often marvel at where and how the gardening bug bites. For me it was a background of growing up on farms in Africa, but my grandfather was a landscape architect and his father had a nursery and flowers supplying Amsterdam and my mother grew a lovely garden for cut flowers and loads of vegetables ( and sold eggs and chickens) for the communal 'farm shop' in town. We had our own patch for vegetables and flowers. In the austerity of boarding school I always nurtured pot plants and took cutflowers back to school at the begining of term. I was eventually let loose on a circle of earth around the lamppost  in front of the boarding house and have had made a garden wherever I have lived since. It is often sad to part with cherished plants which cannot live in the soils of a new site, but more often most of the garden comes with me in the form of seeds and cuttings and there is so much to learn each time.

Mrs MacGregor

Oh and I agree with all the sentiments expressed by Wintersong re. the joy and wonder, closeness to nature and escape and solitude!


Mrs M you're so right. So much to learn every time we go somewhere new. And not enough days to learn it in but an enjoyable process!

My grandpa used to grow carnations and roses in traditional flower beds -maybe that's why I like Dianthus!

I suppose our gardens change with us too- as John described above- which is what makes them interesting. They reflect our lives.

Amazing how many people have come to it later and then made it their career. Lovely.

Nut thank you for your kind comments. I'd like to think I have  a reasonable plant knowledge though nothing compared to you or Verd or lots of others on here, but I can see when something isn't right in terms of overall balance and getting the initial structure of a garden makes it easier to put the planting in. I'd liked to have continued with designing but I've come to realise we can't always have what we want in life. I can always keep moving and just design my own! 


Sure we've had this thread before, if my memory serves me well but I don't remind repeating myself.  Verdun will understand.

Didn't do any gardening until I had a house of my own, athough when my Dad had a stroke and was unable to care for his lovely 'show' chrysanths, I took on the job of potting on and nipping out the side shoots to create the huge blooms.  Hated the smell of them, still do. He also developed a fixation for lilies, which turned up on a regular basis and which also had to be potted up.  However, very theraputic sitting in greenhouse, daydreaming!

Moved into my house in November 47 years ago where the 90ft garden was two-thirds rose beds and one third waist high weeds!  The following summer I took on the challenge of clearing the weeds, which took me 2 weeks.  Had a lovely tan though.  Since then it has changed so many times, rose beds became grass for the kids to play and, once they were able to play in local park (can you see that happening today) I set about making it how I wanted, or so I thought.  Every Winter, I stand at my French windows deciding what I would like to move, change, grow, etc.  It's an ongoing wonderful 'hobby'.  I love my time spent out there where all my worries and concerns disappear.  Am a fair weather gardener so get very agitated when the sun don't shine.

I am pleased to say that my elder son has the 'bug' but, unfortunately, not much time. I just wish he would dig a pond so I could pass the koi over.

Im not sure about that Tina....I say Im not sure about that.  If we did have this thread before I don't remember it...I say. I dont remember it.   (see what you've started now Tina!)

Its interesting reading how people got into gardenIng.  For me it was when my dad, Monty Don, gave me a piece of land to clear of brambles.  Remember it well...about an acre it was and took me all summer.  Ah! memories.......


Verdun - have you turned into Foghorn Leghorn now????

I say... I say boy ...

I thought Monty was your son....


Verdun, you're nuts, but I like you. You can stay.


Whose Foghorn Leghorn when he's out?  No, he's being Fred, the butcher, from Corrie, I say he's being Fred, the butcher from Corrie. 

I'll get Verdun's coat.

Foghorn Leghorn is the big rooster from the cartoon of the 80's/90's.

EDIT: i just googled it after to get a picture and read the wikipedia page and the cartoons where from the 50's/60's 


flowering rose

I got  into gardening really when we had our first home and I was influenced by my mum who loved gardening .I found as time went on The enthusiasm for gardening increased and I would miss not having a garden.I have learned a lot and made many mistakes and still do but I find books and programmes helpful and inspiring.


Ha ha, I don't even know who this Fred is from corrie. I said I don't even know who this Fred is

.....think I'll quit whilst I'm ahead.  Yes, blame Tina



Tina- have you never seen Foghorn Leghorn? 

You haven't lived.....


FG, after my time I think. I was more into Bill & Ben.  Remember Roadrunner, the one with tweetypie and the cat (?) and Scoobydoo but that was Grandson's time.

No, definitely not seen it.

I feel old and this has nothing to do with how we got into gardening. 


Only last year   After twenty years of living in apartments and successfully murdering countless window boxes by lack of water and/or attention, we bought a house five years ago with a huge back garden, dropping in three terraces, and completely laid to lawn. After four years of staring glumly at that plain and boring lawn - and vainly  hoping my husband might do something about it - I finally decided last May to plant a single tree because they were being sold off cheap in Costco

It took the best part of a day to dig a hole for it because I had no tools except an old, blunt and partly concrete covered spade that had been left by some builders.  The tree looked very small and lonely, so I ended up buying four more (and a new spade).  Then, because I needed to justify buying the spade, I decided to dig a small flower bed on the second terrace.  I bought some edging stones and, after a lot of frustration, I invested in a turf cutting knife, and dug out a rectangular 6 x 3 hole, filled it with compost and edged it with the stones.  I trudged back up the garden, wanting to look down with pride at my achievement, only to realise with horror that it looked exactly like I'd buried someone in the middle of the lawn.  So then I doubled the length of it, but then it looked like I'd buried  a long skinny person, so then I had to double the width of it too, and by the time it stopped looking like a grave I had a pretty large flower bed that needed to be planted. So I bought lots of plants but - since I didn't know what I was doing - it took a while to plant them and the weather turned and I desperately needed somewhere to keep them (and me) out of the cold and wet so I moaned at my husband I needed a  shed but he said it was too expensive so I put feelers out for a second hand greenhouse.  A few weeks later, I was offered a greenhouse by someone who was moving house and arranged to get it dismantled and delivered. Unbeknowst to me, my husband had arranged to surprise me with a potting shed for my birthday.  So within a 2 week period I had both installed at the bottom of the garden.  Then, of course, I had to justify having a huge greenhouse and potting shed by filling both of them with growing stuff and that meant digging more beds to put the growing stuff into and, well, that's how I got into gardening